Local businesses navigate ‘new normal’ under phase 2 guidelines

SPOKANE, Wash. — You can officially start shopping at your favorite store once again. However, just because shops are open, doesn’t mean everything will go back to how it was.

For many retail shops, the start of Phase 2 couldn’t come soon enough.

“We were so excited to open our doors and just welcome Spokane,” said Daniel Webb, Owner of Boulevard Mercantile.

As soon as Governor Inslee approved Spokane’s transition to phase 2 last Friday, Webb was ready to reopen.

“We’ve been in here for awhile just preparing and getting ready to open our doors,” he said.

Webb has been prepping for what he said is a whole new way of operating.

“We’ve taken all the proper precautions such as putting masks on the floor for social distancing, disinfecting all of our surfaces on a regular basis,” said Webb.

Auntie’s Bookstore, on the other hand, just opened their doors on Monday.

“We’re trying to figure out how to do it so it’s safe for our employees and our customers,” said John Waite, Owner of Auntie’s Bookstore.

That means only allowing 15 people in the store at a time and making sure everyone inside is wearing a mask.

“There’s this weird juggling of like, we’re excited, but wait—there’s starting to be a lot of bodies in this store and that’s kind of scary,” Waite said.

When you go inside, you’ll also only have about 15 minutes to browse.

“We would like people to have an idea of what they want before they go inside,” said Waite.

Then there are stores like LoLo Boutique, which is giving itself a few extra days to get it right.

“We’re just trying to respect people who have medical conditions, age, over 70, that kind of thing,” said Lainey LaRue, Owner of LoLo Boutique.

They’ll be requiring everyone who walks through their doors to use hand sanitizer before shopping, but that’s not all.

“After something is tried on and it’s not purchased, it will have to go on a rack for 24 hours,” LaRue said.

It’s a learning process for everyone involved.

“I’m not sure what the normal is or what it’s going to be,” said Webb.

“We’re all going to have to figure this out as we go along I guess,” said LaRue.

“We’re all learning on the fly. Nobody really has an answer to how this is going to go,” Waite said.

What they do know—is they’re all in this together.